The audio recording of 911 calls made by the crew of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust have revealed desperate attempts to save their colleague, and allegations of negligence.
Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor of the film, made the call after Baldwin accidentally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and director Joel Souza, 48.
The group were filming the Western film in the desert outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday when the tragedy happened.
In her call, Mitchell, a veteran script supervisor with credits dating back to 1974, points the finger at assistant director Dave Halls, accusing him of negligence. Halls has not commented on the tragedy, and sheriffs are investigating.
Mitchell calls 911 and tells the woman answering: ‘We need an ambulance out at Bonanza Creek Ranch right now. We have had two people accidentally shot on a movie set accidentally.’
While she is on the phone, Mitchell is instructing another person to ‘clear the road’ to allow the ambulance easy access to the site.
An inconsolable Alec Baldwin is shown, left, on Thursday outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office after accidentally shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, right
A devastated Baldwin is pictured bent over outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office on Thursday after speaking to investigators
The Rust set is cordoned off on Thursday with yellow tape following the fatal shooting
An aerial view of the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, where the movie was being filmed
A vehicle from the Office of the Medical Investigator enters the front gate leading to the Bonanza Creek Ranch on Friday, after Rust Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured on set
Mitchell is then transferred to the Santa Fe fire and EMS, and, sounding panicked, urges a swift response.
‘Bonanza Creek ranch. We have had two people accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun.
‘We need help immediately. Bonanza Creek ranch. Come on.’
The 911 operators then asks Mitchell for her details.
Mitchell, who has worked on films including No Country For Old Men, Sicario and 3:10 to Yuma, can be heard saying: ‘It sounds like somebody else is calling for ambulances.
‘Everybody should be. We need some help.
‘Our director and our camerawoman has been shot.’
Baldwin and Hutchins (circled) are pictured together on the set of Rust, in an image that she uploaded to Instagram two days before the fatal shooting
Baldwin is seen in costume, covered with fake blood, in an image posted to Instagram
She then asks someone on set: ‘Are they going to take him to the road?’
The 911 operator asks: ‘So, was it loaded with a real bullet or what?’
Mitchell replies: ‘I don’t, I cannot tell you that. We have two injuries from a movie gunshot.’
While the phone operator is inputting the details, Mitchell can be heard telling someone else: ‘OK, this f****** AD that yelled at me at lunch asking about revisions, this motherf*****.
Joel Souza, the director of Rust, is seen in November 2019. He was reportedly shot in the shoulder
‘Did you see him lean over my desk and yell at me? He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happened.’
According to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court, the gun was one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene was being acted.
Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application.
It was unclear how many rounds were fired. Gutierrez removed a shell casing from the gun after the shooting, and she turned the weapon over to police when they arrived, the court records say.
On the call, the 911 operator tries to ask Mitchell how many people were injured and, confused, Mitchell replies: ‘No, no, I’m a script supervisor.’
The operator asks again, and Mitchell says: ‘Two that I know of. I was sitting there rehearsing and it went off and I ran out. We all went out there, but doubled over the camerawoman and the director.’
She tells another person: ‘They are clearing the road, can you go back – back in the town, back in the Western camp.’
The operator asks if there is any serious bleeding, and Mitchell, flustered, hands the phone over to a man.
‘Hello?’ the man says.
‘Hi, I have a protocol of questions I need to ask. If you could answer them as best you can,’ the 911 operator says. ‘Are they completely alert?’
The man replies: ‘Yes, they are alert.’
The operator asks if the bleeding is controlled, and the man replies: ‘Let’s see if I’m allowed to get closer… No.’
It is unclear if he is saying that the bleeding is not controlled, or that he is not able to get closer.
Production of the film has stopped now in light of the tragedy. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department is investigating and ‘collecting evidence’, a spokesman said on Friday
‘We’ve got one laying down,’ he tells the operator, adding that they are near gate one and have a van ready to escort the ambulances quickly to the precise spot.
A woman then calls back saying: ‘Hi, I am calling back from Bonanza Creek Ranch. We actually need two ambulances not one.’
The operator replies: ‘OK, so we’re doing a call now for somebody else and we’ll get two up to you.’
The woman, her voice showing the strain, replies: ‘OK. And that’s 10 to 15 minutes?’
‘I don’t know – we’re getting them right now, to you now,’ the operator replies.
‘What? What?’ the woman says, sounding panicked as she speaks to someone else.
‘We have two ambulances heading your way.’
‘What?’ the woman says, then returns speaking to the operator: ‘OK, thank you.’
The operator replies: ‘You’re welcome, bye.’
Mitchell later said she was standing next to Hutchins when she was shot.
‘I ran out and called 911 and said ‘Bring everybody, send everybody,’ Mitchell told The Associated Press.
‘This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.’
Mitchell said she and other crew members were attending a private memorial service Friday night in Santa Fe.
Baldwin described the killing as a ‘tragic accident.’
‘There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation,’ Baldwin wrote on Twitter.
‘My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.’
No immediate charges were filed, and sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said Baldwin was permitted to travel.
‘He’s a free man,’ Rios said.
ALEC BALDWIN ON-SET TRAGEDY: WHAT COULD HAVE GONE WRONG?
The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate what exactly happened on the set that led to the death of Hutchins and the injury of the director, but past accidents involving guns on movie sets present a range of options for what could have led to the tragedy.
Squib load – something was lodged in the barrel of the gun when Baldwin fired
One possibility is that an object was stuck in the barrel of the prop gun that Baldwin was using. Known as a squib load, it happens when a cartridge isn’t fired from the barrel because the gas isn’t strong enough to push it out.
In itself, it is not dangerous and can be fixed if the gun is safely cleared but if someone keeps firing rounds from that same gun – live or not – it can be highly dangerous.
If a second round is fired behind the stuck round, it can cause the weapon to explode, or injure people in the near vicinity.
A real bullet was accidentally loaded, or part of one was, instead of a blank
After firing the gun, Baldwin’s immediate reaction was to ask why he’d been handed a ‘hot’ gun – meaning one containing live bullets.
That is what happened in the 1993 shooting of actor Brandon Bruce Lee on the set of The Crow.
Those on set thought the gun was loaded with blanks, but an autopsy revealed a .44 caliber bullet was lodged near Lee’s spine.
Police recovered dummy shell casings from the set.
A dummy, unlike a blank, looks like a live round with a bullet at the tip of the cartridge.
The difference between live rounds and blanks is the tip of the cartridge where the lethal bullet is contained is not there on a blank. Sometimes they are replaced with cotton or paper. Dummy bullets, unlike blanks, look like ordinary bullets but aren’t meant to contain the metal bullet tip either
Blast from the blank struck something else on set
One possibility, though it is not likely, is that the blank hit something else, damaged it, and caused that prop or piece of equipment to send pieces flying towards the director and Hutchins.
Rhys Muldoon who has used guns on set many times and says even blanks are dangerous, speculated at that possibility, telling the BBC: ‘The first thought I had is this is a close up of a gun being fired by the actor, very close to the frame of the camera, that has misfired, hit the DoP, and then something has either come off the French Flag or the black box like a part of the camera and hit the director as well.’
But movie experts say even in those cases, there should be more safeguards in place.
‘If you are in the line of fire… You would have a face mask, you would have goggles, you would stand behind a Perspex screen, and you would minimize the number of people by the camera.
‘What I don’t understand in this instance is how two people have been injured, one tragically killed, in the same event,’ Steven Hall, who has worked on films such as Fury and The Imitation Game, told BBC.